Late last year, Milestone Systems held its first Milestone Partner Open Platform (MPOP) Days in Africa. The event, held at Emperors Palace Convention Centre was well attended by Milestone’s ecosystem partners.
Asking the question “Why compromise”, Peter Biltsted, director sales, EMEA opened the conference and welcomed the attendees to the two-day event. He explained that Milestone is in business to help customers optimise their business processes with an open, independent IP video management system (VMS). Addressing some questions that were asked after last year’s surprise acquisition of Milestone by Canon, Biltsted assured attendees that the company’s independence was secured and its open strategy would remain in place.
He continued that software is the core of video surveillance and Milestone has changed the way customers think about their systems. Today, companies can record at high speeds while combining software products as required, to add value to their video streams.
It’s in the products that customers can add to the open Milestone ecosystem that the company’s strength lies. Milestone only employs around 450 people and it therefore cannot be all things to everyone. It relies on its partners and distributors to add value to the core product.
This approach has obviously worked for the company as it has notched up over 100 000 installations globally. Biltsted stressed that Milestone does not sell direct, but is committed to enhancing value throughout its supply chain, with the end user being the ultimate beneficiary.
Looking at the VMS market, Biltsted said expectations from researchers is for strong growth in the region of 20% through to 2017. The faster than expected growth of IP video will assist Milestone in its growth plans. He acknowledges that analogue is still a large part of the local market and says Milestone is working to assist in making the migration to IP-based systems as easy as possible – specifically through its Husky NVRs.
Looking at the NVR market, another area Milestone has set its focus on, Biltsted said growth in Africa is catching up to the Middle East. The company has seen around 22% growth in the Middle East and around 18.8% in South Africa. The rest of Africa has delivered about 16%, and there are hopes for good growth going forward.
These growth expectations seem realistic when one looks at the markets Milestone serves. About 30% of the company’s global business is in the finance space, while airports make up about 20% of its sales. The primary focus of its installations is security, but its partners are opening the platform up to other verticals where solutions are required.
Further presentations offered insights into the Milestone VMS, looking at its architecture and the road ahead, as well as the applications designed for the retail and banking verticals.
Milestone’s recently appointed local business manager, Michael Metcalfe was also on site to talk about partnering with the company, and the day ended with a presentation on Milestone Husky. These NVRs are designed for ease of use, without compromising the capabilities of the systems. Arguably the best selling point for Husky is the ability to combine IP and analogue cameras, making the transition to IP simpler and allowing customers to extract all the value they can out of their older analogue systems.
True to form, Milestone didn’t hog the stage for the entire conference and gave its partners a chance to talk about their products and systems that are integrated into Milestone’s software.
Bevan Vorster from Mobotix spoke about the company’s camera products and highlighted the importance of resolution in video surveillance. He also noted the low power consumption and simplicity of Mobotix cameras and accessories.
Patrick Ward spoke about IBM’s Smarter Public Safety initiatives. He also highlighted the importance of integrating data from various systems to provide a single, usable view into the generally unmanageable masses of data generated each day.
NetApp’s Phil Bradley also spoke about the company’s interest in supplying storage to the surveillance world, noting that as more video is produced, storage becomes more important to ensure companies are able to store, move and analyse their data effectively.
Malcom Govender gave attendees an insight into Axis Communications and its local operation. He noted that the local Axis office is the third largest in the world in terms of sales.
Bosch Security was also represented and noted its commitment to the Milestone platform. Over 80% of Bosch Security’s hardware is supported in Milestone’s software.
Jose Rodrigeuz introduced Ganetec Global Solutions, a Spanish company that develops video analytics software for the Milestone platform. As Milestone is an open IP platform, Ganetec sees itself as an open platform for analytics, making it easier for third parties to build on its platform.
Between the presentations, the exhibition and the gala dinner, Milestone’s first African MPOP event was a great success and an excellent networking opportunity for the Milestone team and the many partners who were on board for the conference.
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